Separating Facts From Stories

There are the facts. And then there are the stories we weave from the facts.

Fact: My ex-husband had an affair with a woman he met on a business trip. He married her three months after they met and abandoned me with a text message.

Story: There must be something wrong with me for my husband to fall so quickly for another woman. She must have something that I don’t. I’m not even worthy of a conversation, that’s how inconsequential I am. If the man that professed his love to me for sixteen years and pledged his commitment could leave me so easily, any other man would obviously do the same. If I was unworthy before, I’m broken now. There’s no way that I will ever be able to recover from this damage.

It starts with the facts – sometimes harsh, but bare. Often devoid of any motivations or intentions. And then our brains industriously fill in the details, weaving stories that surround and connect the facts.

The problem is that once we tell ourselves these stories, we become unable to separate them from the facts. And so we begin to believe the words we tell ourselves. The words that are often anchored in insecurities, fears and trauma.

Sometimes, we even take it a step further and assimilate these stories as a core truth of about ourselves. We confuse what happened to us with who we are, applying labels with superglue and operating under those assumptions.

What stories are you telling yourself?

Take a few moments and consciously examine the stories you tell yourself. What are the facts and what are your interpretations and speculations about the facts? What if some of your conclusions are incorrect? Could there be another way to view these same facts?

The facts are irrefutable. The stories are what we create.

When we become too wed to a story, we become stuck within a singular narrative. Change your story and your life will follow.

Related:

Edit Your Personal Narrative

Your Story Matters

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9 Responses

  1. That is exactly it, you need to tell yourself to just look at the facts; but also importantly stop trying to find them all (the truth) because you will never know what’s really true. Loved this post. Moisy

  2. She says:

    What if the stories are true? My ex left after 40 years for a younger woman because I didn’t show him enough affection. I was too busy with work and kids, and I have never been one for overt gestures of affection even though I loved him. She doesn’t have any distractions , so can devote herself to him, and they have the same interests. The facts and the stories match in my case. I am trying self forgiveness, but suffer remorse and regret every day. It makes it hard to let go and move on. I forgive them, they found their soul mates, and I want him to be happy. I am trying to change my story that I am better off alone, than with someone who didn’t want to be with me any more.

    • stilllearning2b says:

      Are those the words he told you to excuse why he left?

      • She says:

        Some of them, but I have looked inward and know that I was probably emotionally unavailable, as was my family when I was a child. He had issues too , but needed to feel more appreciated.
        I don’t blame him, and I have now learned (too late) to show my feelings. At least my adult children will benefit from my harsh lesson, they have a more open hearted Mother. Sometimes events occur to help us learn and grow.

  3. Lolly says:

    Thank you for this! The end of the month will mark one year since I made J move out. His issue was and still is an online sex addiction. Not porn…..but meeting strangers strictly for sex. Male, female, it didn’t matter. I’ve been through so many emotions in the past year, but I know in my heart it has absolutely nothing to do with anything I did or didn’t do. Still I couldn’t help but feel if I was enough, none of it would have happened.
    Now, I know, it will take a magical unicorn of a woman for him to change. Yeah, that won’t ever happen. I’m sad for him, I’m worried for him. But I’m moving into my own apartment at the beginning of the month and I will continue to grow and learn to love myself. I only hope someday that he can do the same for himself.

  4. Tripp says:

    You speak truth, and you speak it from the heart. It’s very apparent you’ve transformed, and I love that you want to share that with others. 🙂

  1. March 18, 2019

    […] And just like with the weather outside our windows, it’s easy to form judgments about the relationships within our walls based on what’s happening at a specific time. We stay with people that are bad for us because they can make us feel good in the moment. Or we begin to tell ourselves that our marriage is troubled after a rare deluge. And then, all too easily, that story can become taken as fact. […]

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